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Huang Po

Huang PoHuang Po: Ch’an Buddhist, Chinese master of Zen Buddhism, born circa 750-800.

His teachings are primarily attributed to two texts, Essential of Mind Transmission and Record of Wan-Ling); he was adament about direct experience over sutra study.

Huángbò’s disdain for written texts is exemplified by the story of Pei Xiangguo presenting Huángbò with a text he had written on his understanding of Chan. Huángbò placed the text down without looking at and after a long pause asked,

“Do you understand?” Pei replied, “I don’t understand.” Huángbò said, “If it can be understood in this manner, then it isn’t the true teaching. If it can be seen in paper and ink, then it’s not the essence of our order.”

Big on hitting and shouting, Huangbo taught that the mind cannot by the mind, with mind being consciousness: “All the Buddhas and all sentient beings are nothing but the One Mind, beside which nothing exists. …The One Mind alone is the Buddha, and there is no distinction between the Buddha and sentient beings…”

Thus, Huang Po insisted that all seeking was futile: “…sentient beings are attached to forms and so seek externally for Buddhahood. By their very seeking they lose it.” There is no way to Buddhahood, he would argue, and, as such, can not be studied: "You must not allow this name (he was referring to The Way ) to lead you into forming a mental concept of a road”

Seeking enlightenment is a roadblock to it’s realization, he would argue. What was necessary was to avoid attachment of any kind and any form of seeking.

“If you would only rid yourselves of the concepts of ordinary and Enlightened, you would find that there is no other Buddha than the Buddha in your own Mind. …The arising and the elimination of illusion are both illusory. Illusion is not something rooted in Reality; it exists because of your dualistic thinking. If you will only cease to indulge in opposed concepts such as ‘ordinary’ and ‘Enlightened’, illusion will cease of itself.”

As to the Gateless gate, he had these words of Wisdom: No activity is the gateway but “ all who reach this gate fear to enter.” One must, then, ““enter it with the suddenness of a knife-thrust”.

See entry here.


Abhinavagupta Adi Shankaracharya Anandamayi Ma Atmananda Krishna Menon Buddha Chinmayananda Dalai Lama Gautama Buddha Huang Po Lao Tzu Nisargadatta Maharaj Papaji Ramesh Balsekar Rumi Swami Dayananda Ramana Maharshi U.G.Krishnamurti

Pointers to Presence

And what is mind And how is it recognized? If I clearly draw In sumi ink, the sound Of breezes drifting through pine Is all that is seen.

- Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481)

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